Many people who include their dogs in their family life do all the right things. They socialize their dog, train them, and get them vaccinated. They have made themselves aware of the dangers of leaving a dog in an unoccupied car on a sunny day. The one thing that is often overlooked,is getting the dog accustomed to a long car ride.
Some dogs either love or hate getting in the car to see their Groomer and Vet. Whichever situation you are in, start acclimating your dog to the car this week.
The car (like initial crate training) should be a fun and happy place. Practice getting the dog in the car, give treats and praise once the dog is in. Go for short rides if the dog is distressed, longer ones if they seem comfortable. I often suggest taking the dog to a fun destination like a park, the beach, or a favorite persons home. If you're stuck for a place to go, make sure he's hungry and stop in a parking lot to feed him. Lavish praise and a fun happy attitude will help make the dogs association to getting into a car and going for a ride a good one.
There will be situations on a trip where the dog must not get out of the car. Going to a gas station on a busy road, taking a bathroom break, or getting a flat tire are some examples that come to mind. If you consistently stop the car, turn it off, exit the car and allow the dog to exit, you are pattern training the dog to exit every time you do. When a potentially dangerous situation occurs, your dog will climb, bark, squirm and contort his body to join you outside the car. This could be dangerous for both you and your pet.
After the dog loves the car, put the dog in the car, and then go back into the house for 30 seconds. Go back to the car, get in, and drive somewhere. Again get out, make him stay in the car. Walk away for a very short period of time. Return to the car, drive somewhere else, and then let him out. Practice Practice Practice!! Change locations and drive times. It has been hot out lately, so please only practice leaving the dog in the car alone after sunset.
Have a great week.
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